Australian Shepherds, questions

carla17(Z7 NC)July 17, 2007

I would like to know some things about these dogs. First big question is how much exercise do they need. I have a high energy dog that is psychotic and needy. Don't want another one of those!!!!! Please tell me anything you want.

Thank you,


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Carla, they do need to run. They are very similar in temperament and energy level to a Border Collie. I have had one and she would never have been still enough to keep inside.

JMO - someone else may disagree but I don't think so.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 1:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carla17(Z7 NC)

I believe you Sis. There are some gorgeous Aussies. Oh well, to search another dog. I really love the King Charles Spaniels but they are $$$. Maybe I can do a rescue on something when I am ready.

Thanks Sis!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 1:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You could keep it indoors, providing that you give the dog plenty of daily exercise. They are high energy and very intelligent. Really good dogs.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 10:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bluesibe(NoCa 9a)

Carla, as others have said these dogs are extremely high energy. Herding dogs are working dogs and that means that their genes are geared towards constantly moving and observing. (Paula/Rosefolly has an Australian Shepherd, she is quite a loveable character.)

Does your other dog get enough exercise. Watch Cesar Milan on Discovery Channel sometime. One of the first things he does with problem dogs is exercise them to fatique than works with them.

You can always go to the AKC site and read up breeds. And BTW, all puppies are energetic!

Good luck on your search,


    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 9:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
trishaw(Z7 Upper SC)

I have a male- while I agree with the fact that they need to run, he is also a very calm dog. So smart! He does pace however if one of us leaves the room. He likes to keep us all together in one spot. All of dogs are indoor/outdoor dogs and Junior is the boss. Like most herding dogs they need to be kept busy. Email me if you want more questions answered Carla- You know how to find me!


    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 10:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have two Aussies and work in Aussie rescue. There are some low key Aussies, but the majority are quite high in energy. The most common reason they are given up is 'we don't have time for him and he needs a bigger yard.' (The size of the yard is irrelevant -- the time and ability to exercise and train the dog matters a lot.) The second most common is aggression. These dogs are bred to guard as well as move stock and can be territorial and suspicious of strangers. The show lines may be less so.

If you don't want to have to put time, training and thought into exercising an Aussie your best bet is an adult rescued dog through a rescue that is well acquainted with the dogs they are placing (meaning they are fostered in someone's home for a while before placement).

The worst reason to get an Aussie is because you like the color. The merle is pretty to look at, but these are not necessarily easy dogs. The most important consideration in choosing any dog should always be temperament. It's easy to come to think your spectacularly friendly, loving plain-Jane black dog is beautiful. It's easy to come to hate and fear your fear-aggressive but beautiful blue eyed blue merle. There are some 'designer' breeders out there who are starting to introduce merle into non-merled breeds (Pom, Cocker, etc.) (presumably from Aussie crosses that will never be admitted on paper). Choose temperament. It's the best guarantor of a successful love affair with your dog.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aussie Rescue & Placement Helpline, Inc.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 12:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
michelle_co(z5 CO)

I was just going to suggest a rescue but see that someone beat me to it. I have a half Aussie, half cattle dog from a rescue organization and she is a WONDERFUL indoor dog. Not high energy all the time, but she does go for a daily walk & she likes being in the back yard chasing bunnies and squirrels away from the roses. She likes to point at them and stalk them, but is too shy to really try and catch one. She can easily go 20 miles a day when we ride horses in summer. At this moment, she's sacked out on the couch with the Ridgeback. My riding instructor has a purebred rescue (ex showdog, stunningly gorgeous) and he's also not too high energy. They are out there, if you will consider rescuing an adult you will have more of a chance to know what type of temperament you are getting.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 2:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carla17(Z7 NC)

Wah, I don't think I can handle an Aussie. Guess I'm doomed to small dogs. I do like that our small dog doesn't require so much activity and she sleeps a lot. LOL

Thanks everyone

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 6:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The easiest dog to live with IF you don't have cats and don't mind keeping the dog on leash is a retired racing greyhound. Typically sweet and VERY low in energy! Just point 'em at a couch.

It is NOT about size! There are small dogs (e.g. Jack Russell and Parson Russell Terriers) that require more exercise and time than your average herding dog.

Your small dog sleeps a lot because of who she is and her age, not because of her size. Trust me!

I am currently fostering an older Aussie who doesn't need to run. He is happy with one walk a day and a knee to rest his head on. He was formerly abused and just wants someone who will be gentle with him and not scare him with raised voices or raised hands. His only fault is he does not stay with you offleash outside, so must be kept on a leash when outside. Otherwise, he is wonderful.

There are plenty of lower energy choices, though.

If you are profoundly attracted to merle coloration, you might do best with a rescued merle Collie. They tend to be a lot mellower and while they can be fearful, are less likely to show aggression.

Virtually all the other breeds that come in merle are quite demanding.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 6:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Think about a mix:

mixes are mother nature's favorite offspring, combining genes to make healthy hybrids.

My dogs are other people's throw-aways, & the most wacko one is a purebred (fawn Dobie, must have been mistreated, I love him but he's a handful!), & the most adorable, intelligent, beautiful, loving one is a Blue Heeler mix who looks like a skinny German Shepherd.

& you can find a million of 'em for cheaps or even free-
look in the newspaper & at the shelter.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 8:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I rescued a young Aussie who had been hit by a car and needed extensive surgery to repair the leg (they doubted it would work.) Due to circumstances, all I had to pay for was the anesthetic, not the surgery--which was quite successful. You wouldn't know the leg was injured for the most part.

He is very low energy, unless taken to a dog park or beach. He sleeps most all of the time, depite his 2 year-old house mate. He is a wonderful dog, now about 6 or 7.

My son has two mini Aussies. Quite smart and active. They both work and are gone most of the day. Their doggies do fine. I care for them on weekends or when they go on vacation. They are very easy to care for. Puppyhood was difficult for the younger one--she chewed alot. Nothing out of the usual. They got the older one from a questionable breeder, who said he had bitten her. At first he was skittish. He is the best dog ever now, never snapped at anyone. He is so smart it is scary. He was too smart to parade around in dog shows, just not his thing I guess.

If you have your heart set on an Aussie, try the rescue and get a mellow one. It is very possible--and rewarding. Just IMHO.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 11:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carla17(Z7 NC)

Kathy, yes I remember the mini Aussies. I would love to see one.
Thank you for the info.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Meet Ella, who is almost 3 now,

and her stepbrother, Banjo, who is about 7,

Banjo has a degree from Stanford University, while my own Aussie, Ranger, just attended junior college. He is full-size. His full-time hobby is catching zzzz's.

Both Ella and 'Jo are minis. My granddoggies.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 8:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carla17(Z7 NC)

Kathy, they are adorable. Thank you for posting pictures.
I just love dogs of all kinds, in fact I should have moved to a ranch years ago!

animal lover

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 8:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Carla - research, research and more research! Get a puppy who is meant to be a lap dog - that is what they live for. No matter what is going on, the minute I pick up Max he settles down and is almost asleep - he was born and bred to be held! And have you EVER seen a more gorgeous pukin???

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 8:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"The easiest dog to live with IF you don't have cats and don't mind keeping the dog on leash is a retired racing greyhound. Typically sweet and VERY low in energy! Just point 'em at a couch."

Now you're talking my language. I've been active in greyhound adoption since the late 90's. If you are interested in a lower energy, affectionate, loving dog, greyhounds may be your answer. If you are at all entertaining the idea, get in touch with a greyhound rescue in your area (there are some really good ones in NC -- I could refer you to one, if you'd like.). Stop by to visit at a meet and greet, and meet them for yourself.

The part about not having cats is false, by the way. Some greyhounds have a high prey drive and can't be trusted with cats or any other small animal, but most of them are quite good with cats. My two greyhounds live with (and are dominated by) three house cats. The cats rule the roost, and the dogs abide by it.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 12:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sure, there are dogs of all breeds who can live safely with cats. However, I would say the top breeds I hear about killing the family cat are greyhounds, pit bulls, GSDs, and Dobies. There are many wonderful examples of all those breeds who never touch the cat, but some breeds are far more likely to flip over into predatory drift. Unfortunately, greys are one of those.

Let's put it this way -- I would have to be a diehard greyhound enthusiast from the start before I would choose the breed if I already had a cat. If I had an existing cat and were looking for a dog breed, I would stack the odds in my favor and choose a breed not bred to finish the predatory sequence. I'd much much rather get an Aussie than a Greyhound if I had a cat already, and all else being equal (which it certainly is not -- greys are FAR easier dogs than Aussies in most respects).

I'm a professional dog trainer who is also active in Aussie rescue. I do a lot of behavior problem work, so I do have a pretty good bunch of data I'm working from. I am equally vigilant about not denying that pit bulls are prone to dog aggression, cattle dogs are prone to nipping children, and so on. :)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 9:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Portiemom(San Diego)

Think about a Shetland Sheepdog. Medium size, very intelligent, very anxious to please and follow your lead. But they are very vocal. Whatever you choose, do get one from a rescue group.

Jean, currently the mother of a Portuguese Water Dog (oh my! What a breed!)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 4:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Kathy,

Do you or your daughter know what Banjo's breeding is? I recently placed a mini Aussie who was a tricolor, not a merle, but his head looked EXACTLY like Banjo's. There's a lot of variety in head shapes in minis and this can't be an accident. I would love to figure out if they are related.

The dog I placed is extremely smart... and extremely neurotic. :)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 1:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

LOL, just realized I called Max the Moo a PUKIN!! I mean to type PUPKIN - he doesn't puke much now that he is older and his tummy has matured a bit!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 7:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Reply to nickelsmumz:
I will try to see if they know. I do know the breeder is not terribly far from Sacramento. Banjo is somewhat neurotic, too. He has gotten much better. But he is a very serious fellow. You are right. He has a very distinctive face/head. He is very handsome, I think.
Have you read the Jon Katz books about Border Collies? Try 'A Dog Year'. Devon, nicknamed Helldog, takes the cake for smart and neurotic dogs. A really fun book to read!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 8:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Carla, my sweet Splash is an Aussie, and I would not own another breed.

The key to owning any puppy is investing the time and energy into training them. Any pet is worthless unless you survive the puppy months and train them properly. I agree about Caeser Milan, the Dog Whisperer.

Second, Aussies are very devoted herding (working) dogs. To be happy, contented pets they MUST have a job to do. My Splash keeps a vigilant eye on the back yard for critters and comes to get us when she sees one. She is equally capable of cuddling up with us on the couch in the evening while we watch TV.

Aussies can be sturborn, willfull, bossy animals. I see that streak in Splash ever so often. The only thing that keeps her in line is the occasional reminder from us AND her extreme desire to make us happy. We only need to express our displeasure and she is right back in line again.

I like the suggestion that you check out the Aussie rescue pages. I have looked at these animals many times dreaming that we could afford another pet. As with any breed, there are as many temperments as there are dogs. I'm sure you could find the one for you.

Love my Aussie!
Barbara aka Hawkeye Belle

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 1:38PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What's wrong with my rose bush?
Can anyone please shed some light on what's wrong with...
Pruning vigorous HTS in soCal
Hi, Usually a 'lurker' on the forum. I am a gardener...
Francis Meilland, suggestions on pruning and care?
I currently have him in a 15 gallon, he's at least...
Soaking a bareroot rose?
I've been wondering about the best way to prepare a...
I will be converting my rose garden this spring
After two brutal winters where temperatures have reached...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™